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Nov 21, 2013 06:15 AM

First foodie trip to NOLA

Hi, everyone!

My husband and I are planning a 3-night trip to NOLA in late Jan. If things go as planned, we'll be arriving late afternoon/early evening on a Wednesday and leaving Saturday after breakfast/brunch.

This is not our first trip, but it is the first time we've gone with an interest in food. We're planning to stay in the Faubourg Marigny area.

I'm thinking perhaps Muriel's the first evening. Other than that, we'd like to try Commander's Palace and Cochon Butcher.

Should we do lunch, dinner, or Saturday brunch at Commander's Palace?
Where else should we go? We want to eat local stuff that NOLA is known for, and would prefer places that aren't just for tourists.
We're more or less planning on asking the servers for their recommendations everywhere. Should that work okay or are there dishes that we can't risk missing?

Any advice at all is very appreciated. Thank you!

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  1. It's (to some) less scenic than Murials but I think you'd have a better meal at either Mariza or Maurepas Foods; both in the Bywater (Mariza is probably walkable if you're in the Marigny). I mention these specifically because you're already on this side of the FQ and right now [*] they're your best bets in this neighborhood.

    [*] Once Oxalis opens up -- based on what I tasted when they popped up at Cane & Table -- there'll be competition.

    1 Reply
    1. re: montuori

      Thank you! I went to check out their menus; both look very good!

    2. I love weekday lunch at Commander's. At least one of you should start with the Soup 1-1-1, demitasses of turtle soup, gumbo & their soup du jour. (probably should've taken the photo before I began to eat it)

      Consider Brigtsen's for a dinner. If you go one of you should start with the "Rabbit Tenderloin with Andouille Parmesan Grits Cake, Spinach, & Creole Mustard Sauce." Oh Dear God it is so good that we learned to make the grit cake which we serve at our Mardi Gras party each year using the recipe at Chuck's

      I don't see po-boy or muffaletta on your list. I like Parkway poboys, but there are plenty of options.

      Oysters will be plentiful and good in late January.

      3 Replies
      1. re: AreBe

        Thank you for the suggestions! The Soup 1-1-1 sounds perfect, and the cups look even bigger than I'd thought they might be.

        We were thinking about Central Grocery for a muffaletta, but I'm open to anything. I'd kind of prefer to have a list of good places and then we'll see where we are when we get hungry.

        Thank you!

        1. re: AreBe

          I won't pretend to be as experienced as the locals but during a recent convention, we had a great muffaletta from Cochon Butcher at lunchtime. For breakfast, Restaurant Stanley near Jackson Square has a nice Banana Foster French Toast. Their Eggs Benedict is OK, not great, but the with fried oysters certainly adds a different (and not unpleasant) twist.


          1. re: jcontario

            The Cochon Butcher muffaletta is phenomenal. I liked what we got from Butcher a lot more than Cochon itself.

        2. Willie Mae's Scotch House.

          Tujage's (if its still there).

          Middendorf’s (get the thin cut catfish)

          not white tablecloth fine dining. if you want the high dollar places, other recommendations are available. most tourists will be there. but the foods still good @ those places

          .. and Tipitina's for the music.

          2 Replies
          1. re: kariin

            Thank you! We like fine dining every now and then, but I definitely feel more at home in a more casual setting.

            I appreciate the music suggestion, too. I'd just been thinking we'd forgotten to even take music into account. Huge oversight!

            1. re: kariin

              Willie Mae's is an old, old favorite of mine, but be warned the food's not the same as it was 10+ years ago. Still very good, but no one will likely ever be able to exactly duplicate what Willie Mae herownself did. The place and clientele (cops, politicos, chefs coming to pay homage) remains surprisingly faithful, though. Area is dicey, but has remained under-populated since K, so not as outright dangerous as it was in the 80's-early 2000's. In short, it's a cultural experience, more than a great meal.

              Tujaques isn't going anywhere. Again, more a cultural/historical experience. Trip back to when boiled beef with horseradish sauce was more of a staple. I remember being so amazed at how different the palate was in historical country/working-class French cuisine, than what we think of today (Maylie and Esparbe Cafe and Table D'hote--cuisine time capsule from late 18th-early 19thC Gascony was a marvelous example) I like it, but it's pretty limited.

              Middendorf's--really? OK, I like the old roadhouse/lakehouse restaurant thing, but it's a long drive out of NOLA and just not all that awesome, unless you happen to be up that way anyway. Would strongly recommend R&O Pizza for very casual, local seafood and ambiance. Also nice range, since there's good Italian, modified NOLA stds (Italian roast beef po-boy for one awesome example), and consistently great seafood. Don't believe the BS from that food network show that jumped the shark. Total BS.

              Tip's for music, definitely. Another great uptown choice is Maple Leaf. In Marigny, roam Frenchman St. Lots of great clubs to chose. In Bywater, for light jazz, filling small plates, and a nice atmosphere if weather's good and you can tune out the hipsters is Bacchanal WIne, at Chartres and Poland.

              Other recommendations given are very good, too. The biggest problem with NOLA is choosing from the vast array of restaurants.

            2. The only advice that I give to first time visitors is not to get "stuck" in the Quarter and miss the other lovely parts of town. It sounds like that won't be an issue for y'all.

              1. Do not go to Commander's for dinner, lunch or brunch will be better. Ask to sit upstairs.

                Check out Coquette for lunch or dinner. Everything is soooo good there & the service is excellent.

                5 Replies
                1. re: topeater

                  Gosh. My recommendation would be the other way round: I find dinner at CP interesting but lunch and brunch much less so. We agree wholeheartedly on Coquette though.

                  I hear they, CP, are planning on 1200 T-Day covers. Crazy.

                  1. re: montuori

                    Interesting about the 1200 covers but that is compared to how many on a "normal" day like a weekend?

                    While everyone appreciates fine dining you really have to appreciate high volume fine dining

                  2. re: topeater

                    Can anyone tell me if they have an elevator at Commander's Palace to access the upstairs?

                    1. re: Christine

                      As of a couple of years ago when we were last there, they didn't. However, the downstairs main dining room is very nice.

                      1. re: Plano Rose

                        thanks, plano. yes, we ate in the downstairs dining room at CP when we were there in September, at the best seat in the house downstairs according to our waiter, jeff. it was the ronald reagan circular booth in the corner. we had reservations to go upstairs to the garden room, but when i saw those stairs and having ms, i thought better of it. just wondered if i'd be able to access the garden room on future occasions. thanks for the info!